Cuomo throws flag; NYers can buy Giants tickets

January 3, 2008 1:09:38 PM PST
After initially saying they'd only sell tickets for Sunday's wild-card game between the New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers to Floridians, Ticketmaster and the Buccaneers backpedalled Thursday following a call from New York state's top lawyer.The policy that would have kept New Yorkers from getting seats through the ubiquitous ticket vendor was instituted last week after the playoff schedule was released.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said he contacted Ticketmaster Thursday about potential legal problems with the prohibition. Ticketmaster agreed to eliminate the Florida residency restrictions "the same day," Cuomo said.

"It raises issues, interstate commerce issues," the attorney general said in a phone interview. "There are constitutional prohibitions against states discriminating against other states' residents or impeding business by other states. There are possible discrimination issues."

Ticketmaster released a statement that said the Buccaneers had asked to restrict ticket sales for the game at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium.

"We see no legal issue with a team or venue choosing to make certain tickets available only to local residents for a particular event; however, with our client the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' permission, and as a goodwill effort, we lifted the restrictions earlier today," spokesman Joseph Freeman said in the statement.

Cuomo said he was also concerned that the "virtually unprecedented" restrictions would lead to consumer fraud and schemes as Giants fans looked for other ways to get their hands on tickets. Cuomo said New Yorkers had a particular interest in the game because the Giants are the only New York team in the NFL playoffs.

The Buccaneers did not immediately return calls for comment Thursday.

Tampa Bay won the NFC South Division with a 9-7 record while the Giants finished second in the NFC East at 10-6.